The Matrix Director Addresses Fan Theory About Keanu Reeves And Carrie-Anne Moss’ Casting

Keanu Reeves in The Matrix
(Image credit: Warner Bros. )

Every few years an action movie is released that ends up defining that point of cinema. The Matrix is definitely in that category, and countless movies have been influenced by the original trilogy’s visual language. The discourse surrounding the franchise hasn’t slowed down much, and director Lilly Wachowski recently addressed a fan theory about Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss’ casting.

In recent years The Matrix has been dubbed as a trans allegory by the public, thanks to the franchise’s themes and the story of The Wachowskis coming out as transgender women in the real world. That discourse has also included the casting of Reeves and Moss, and some believing they were trans-coded. Lilly Wachowski spoke to Them about this idea, offering:

Yeah, with all the decisions we made with that film, there’s just this burbling transness simmering below everything. So when I look back at the way that we cast those two parts, I can see how obvious it is that they’re one part in a lot of ways; that they’re two sides of the same coin. It’s not like these were conscious decisions, but more like we’re finding our way instinctively as these two closeted trans women. So all those things that your receptors are buzzing about are completely valid. When people say, ‘Oh, it’s a trans allegory,’ it’s like, ‘Yeah… it is, but we weren’t like, Hey, let’s write a trans allegory.’ That’s not how it started. We were like, “Hey, let’s write this action film,” and then we got our trans all over it. [laughs]

There you have it. While many people have found a connection between The Matrix franchise and the trans experience, that seemingly wasn’t the intent of the Wachowskis while they were making the movies. Instead, Lilly Wachowski believes this occurred subconsciously by the pair of filmmakers/siblings. In this case it seems like art imitated life.

The Wachowskis brought a ton of vision to the first Matrix movie, as well as the two sequels that formed its original trilogy. The blockbusters debuted cutting-edge technology to accomplish visuals like bullet time, while also telling a compelling original story. And that story about self-discovery and reality is one that many have found relative to the trans experience in recent years.

Aside from the ways the theatrical cut of The Matrix connected with trans themes, there was also a character that originally could have made it even more of an allegory for the community. Switch, who was played by Belinda McClory, was originally meant to transform from a man in the real world to a woman within the Matrix. But that concept ended up on the cutting room floor.

The generations of Matrix fans were recently treated to a new sequel in the form of The Matrix Resurrections. Lilly Wachowski wasn’t directly involved in the project, with Lana serving as the director and one of the writers. Unfortunately, The Matrix 4 was a box office disappointment, and it's unclear if we’ll ever get another.

The Matrix franchise is currently available to stream on HBO Max. Be sure to check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.